Belfast City Council to consider memorial for WWI nurses

Campaigners have called for the service of nurses in the First World War to be recognised with a permanent memorial at Belfast City Hall.

Sunday, 3rd November 2019, 5:46 pm
Former health workers Heather Thompson and Margaret Graham who were involved in a project tracing the lives of nurses from Northern Ireland that served in the First World War

Scores of nurses left Ireland during World War One between 1914 and 1918 to serve on battlefields across the world from northern France to east Africa and Mesopotamia.

A research project by a group of retired nurses has traced the stories of some of those who deployed.

In their publication Nurses’ Voices From WWI, they record that when war was announced in August 1914, nurses from across Ireland immediately signed up for service.

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Retired health workers Margaret Graham and Heather Thompson from the Royal College of Nursing’s History of the Nursing Network Northern Ireland were involved in the project.

Mrs Graham said: “From our history of nursing perspective we were really impressed by what these nurses of the day did during World War One.

“We would like to see that memory recognised, and we’ll be really thankful if they do agree to our request to put up this plaque.”

The request for the exhibition is expected to be passed by the next full meeting of the council on Monday. The plaque is set to be considered by the party group leaders.

It comes following the conferring of the freedom of the city on nurses in 2016 for their contribution during the Troubles.